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Archive for the ‘Sri Aurobindo’ Category

Let’s understand Coronavirus in the light of Sri Aurobindo – News Intervention

Posted: March 28, 2020 at 5:44 pm


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Microscopic view of a Coronavirus. (Photo: PTI)

For Sri Aurobindo, behind every event that is happening in the world, there are forces at play. Some of these forces aredharmic, that is they tend towards the good of humanity; and others are asuric, destructive, striving to disrupt, to bring disharmony, to hurt even, and in general push for regression in human evolution.

This is nothing new. All great Scriptures, whether the Vedas, the Bible, or Buddhas precepts, have said the same thing the world is Maya (illusion); look behind appearances, search for Truth. Now if you take a glance at the Coronavirus epidemic in that light, it acquires a new dimension. On the medical angle, it is nothing compared to other deadly diseases, such as cancer, heart attacks, or AIDS. In India, for now, there are less than 0.0001% of the country infected. But just observe what comes along with the Coronavirus fear, suspicion, mistrust, and a worldwide panic that seems to have gripped all, the governments as well as individuals. This is the very psychosis, which comes with asuric forces. We perceive also that the Coronavirus is bringing with it tremendous economic damage to the world. Airlines, businesses, even the governments might go bankrupt, and individuals are right now undergoing tremendous financial and psychological stress. This also is the Asura.

Now what Sri Aurobindo also says is that these hostile forces need vehicles, instruments, to do their harm. In the case of the Coronavirus, this instrument has been the media, both printed and electronic,which has, with sensationalism, hyperbole, and photo-shopping, amplified a million time the fears and concerns of people, putting pressure on governments, which all fell prey to this bloodsucking blackmail.

During the Second World War, Sri Aurobindo and his spiritual companion, the Mother, clearly indicated that Hitler was anasura, an evil force, and they put their spiritual power in play to help the Allies defeat him. It is therefore clear that while taking all hygienic and medical precautions,the Coronavirus needs to be fought on a spiritual and occult level.

For having a clear occult indication on how to fight this Coronavirus epidemic, we need to look at its origin. Well, it does come from China. We are not anti-Chinese per se, but whether the Coronavirus is man-made, because the Chinese eat all kind of animals, from vampires to snakes, which are killed alive before being sold; or if it is a biological weapon, which accidentally escaped from a research laboratory. There is no doubt about its source. On a very material level, it is a timely reminder to the West of Chinas indomitable thirst for hegemonic dominance of the world. For example, 95% of the antibiotics consumed on this planet are made in China; so are most of the automobiles parts, computer chips, mobile phones such as the Apple etc. The world is therefore totally dependent on China today and this is a signal that it is a dangerous thing and the West needs to de-localize from the Chinese and re-localize in India, for instance a much more friendly, spiritual and democratic nation.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama often spoke of a black karma of the Chinese, not only because they massacred nearly a million Tibetans but also because Mao-Tse tung, in his megalomania, killed 20 million of his own people. Is the Coronavirus which has paralyzed the whole of China and which will damage its long-term ambitions, such as a new Silk Road that crosses the Himalayas to reach the Pakistani port of Gwadar, and hence flood the western world with Chinese goods, a consequence of that black karma? The future will say.

At any rate, while India needs to take all sanitary precautions, it isShe (India) only who can fight the invisible forces behind the Coronavirus. All the great gurus of the moment, His Holiness the Dalai-lama, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Amrita Anandamayi, Jaggi Sadhguru, the Shankarya, Gurumai, etc, should assemble together and performs pujasandyagnas; individually we can also fight the virus by repeating in our hearts the Mothers prayer:

In the name of the Divine,

For the sake of the Divine,

By the power of the Divine,

With the strength of the Divine,

To all adverse beings or forces,

I order you to quit this place at once and for ever.

Franois Gautier was born in Paris. In the early eighties, he began freelancing in India for different publications and finally ended up being the correspondent in South Asia, for the Geneva-based Journal de Geneve, then one of the best international newspapers in Europe. Franois has written several books: Un autre Regard sur lInde (Editions du Tricorne, Geneva-Paris), Arise O India (Har Anand, 1999), A Western journalist on India (Har Anand, 2001), Indias Self Denial (Editions Auroville Press, 2001), Swami, moine hindou et PDG (Editions Delville, Paris, 2003, 8000 copies sold), Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a Guru of Joy (India Today Book Club, 2003), La Caravane Intrieure (Les Belles Lettres, Paris, 2005), A New History of India (Har Anand, 2008). Franois is now the Editor-in-Chief of the Paris-based La Revue de lInde and a Director of a book collection on India with the same publisher.

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Let's understand Coronavirus in the light of Sri Aurobindo - News Intervention

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March 28th, 2020 at 5:44 pm

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Take steps to improve road safety: Bedi – The Hindu

Posted: March 9, 2020 at 7:42 pm


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Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi has sought a set of measures to improve road safety/engineering, sanitation and cleanliness on city roads.

Ms. Bedi, who led a team from Raj Nivas on a cycle tour to make an inspection on Sunday as part of weekend visits, directed officers for immediate action on marking the roads as per traffic rules including zebra crossing for pedestrians wherever required.

The Lt. Governor demanded that speedbreakers be painted to serve as indication to motorists. Other instructions include removing the debris and the tree breakages dumped either side of the road and clearing of drainage slabs taken from the drainage and kept on the road, causing a hindrance to traffic. Ms. Bedi has asked the officers of PWD and Municipality to take a daily round of their respective areas for maintaining road safety and cleanliness.

She was accompanied by Shurbir Singh, Secretary, Works, S.D. Sundaresan, Special Secretary to Lt. Governor, Rahul Alwal, SSP, Mahalingam, Chief Engineer, PWD, M. Kandasamy, Commissioner, Oulgaret Municipality, S. Sivakumar, Pondicherry Municipality, Sekar, Superintending Engineer, PWD and Bascarane, CGO and the Manager of Swachatha Corporation. A plan to convert the Raj Nivas gardens into a biodiversity hub in collaboration with Sri Aurobindo Ashram ecologists, was also initiated.

Ms. Bedi cut a cake and honoured the staff on the occasion.

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Take steps to improve road safety: Bedi - The Hindu

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March 9th, 2020 at 7:42 pm

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MHRD Minister Promotes Grassroot Teaching Innovations by Felicitating More Than 1000 Teachers From all the State’s UT’s of India – THE WEEK

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(Eds: Disclaimer: The following press release comes to you under an arrangement with PR Newswire. PTI takes no editorial responsibility for the same.) MHRD Minister Launched 35 State-wise Innovations Handbooks

NEW DELHI, March 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- A National Conference and award ceremony was organised recently at Dogra Hall- Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi by Sri Aurobindo Society and HDFC Bank to recognise the effective grassroot innovations in teaching.

Highlights of the Event

Shri. Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank', Honourable Minister, MHRD felicitated more than 1000 Teachers gathered from all that states and union territories of country

MHRD Minister launched 35 State-wise Innovations Handbooks consisting of best teaching practices and grassroot innovations

Shri. Prakash Javadekar, the Honourable Minister of Information & Broadcasting graced the event and motivated the teachers

Shri. Narendra Singh Tomar, Honourable Minister, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj appreciated the mass-scale teacher outreach program 'Zero-Investment Innovations For Education Initiatives' (ZIIEI) of Sri Aurobindo Society and HDFC Bank Shri. Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre, Honourable Minister of State for HRD boosted the morale of the teachers and felicitated education officers Shri. Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Honourable Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises graced the occasion Shri. Anurag Thakur, Hon'ble Minister of State for Finance motivated the teachers at the event Shri Ram Madhav, National General Secretary, Bhartiya Janata Party applauded the teachers for their unique teaching innovations at grassroot level.

Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank', honourable Human Resource Development (HRD) minister felicitated more than 1000 teachers from across the country for their unique zero-investment grassroot innovations in teaching.

The event, named as 'SHUNYA SE SASHAKTIKARAN- Empowering Through Zero' highlighted and promoted various zero-investment innovative ideas that are developed and being implemented by the school teachers in their respective schools. 35 state-wise Innovations Handbooks were also launched at the event. These handbooks document the most effective innovations by teachers of different states. The event was organised by Sri Aurobindo Society and HDFC Bank to acknowledge the best practices and innovative ideas of the school teachers on 01st and 02nd March 2020, at Dogra Hall- Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi.

Hon'ble Minister MHRD- Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank', Dr. Satbir Bedi Chairperson, NCTE, Ms. Ashima Bhat - Group Head, HDFC Bank, Shri. Ashish Goel - Divisional Commissioner Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, Shri. Pradeep Narang - Chairman, Sri Aurobindo Society, Shri. Vijay Poddar - Member Executive, Sri Aurobindo Society along with Shri Sambhrant Sharma- Director, Education, Sri Aurobindo Society felicitated 1,000 innovative teachers and launched 35 Innovation Handbooks.

Addressing the audience and media persons present at the event, Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' emphasised on the need to empower the teachers to upgrade the education sector of the country. He also appreciated and acknowledged the efforts of Sri Aurobindo Society for their dedicated approach in this sector.

Speaking at the event, the Honourable MHRD minister, said, "I hope from next year we celebrate this day as Innovative Teacher's Day. I congratulate Sri Aurobindo Society and HDFC Bank for the commendable work of acknowledging teachers' contribution in the education sector". He also described the teachers as Chanakya who are capable of creating a Chandragupta in every student.

Shri. Pokhriyal also acknowledged the efforts of HDFC Bank in Nation Building and presented a memento to Ms. Ashima Bhat Group Head, HDFC Bank. Speaking at the event, Ms. Bhat said, "It is the vision of HDFC bank to build an educated and progressive society. The Bank has been actively involved in making a stronger and better India and Sri Aurobindo Society's ZIIEI program has been an incredible partner in this vision of transforming education in India."

Ms. Nusrat Pathan, CSR Head, HDFC Bank and Shri Vikas Wahal, Head Retail Banking, HDFC Bank also marked their presence.

The event was graced by the presence of Shri Prakash Javadekar, the Honourable Minister of Information & Broadcasting focused on improving the access and quality of education and applauded the teachers for their praiseworthy efforts in building a stronger and progressive nation. The honourable minister said, "The society where a teacher is recognized and felicitated is a remarkable one. Innovation is the mother of research. Each innovation is a vision. A nation cannot progress without innovation. It is the sole responsibility of the teachers to create great leaders for tomorrow."

The event was also graced by Shri. Narendra Singh Tomar, Honourable Minister, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Shri. Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre Honourable Minister of State for HRD, Shri. Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Honourable Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Shri Anurag Thakur, Hon'ble Minister of State for Finance and Shri. Ram Madhav, National General Secretary, Bhartiya Janata Party.

Along with Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, Shri J. M Bala Murugun - Principal Secretary to Governor, Punjab and Shri Amrendra Kumar Sengar - Inspector General, NDRF also shared the dice and motivated the teachers.

Overwhelmed with the honest approach of the teachers in the education sector, Shri. Narendra Singh Tomar, Honourable Minister, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj said, "I hope the teachers continue to contribute towards improving the education system through their noble work. Nation building comes first. Innovative teachers inculcate such moral and human values in their students who play an instrumental role in building a progressive nation."

Shri. Rajender Pensiya - Chief Development Officer, Farrukhabad emphasised on creating a joyful learning atmosphere in the classroom and applauded ZIIEI Innovative Pathshaala, an initiative under ZIIEI that focuses on experiential learning atmosphere in the classroom.

Speaking at the event, Shri. Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre, Honourable Minister of State for HRD said, "Teachers are not just imparting education but are also elevating their learning experience. Knowledge multiplies when we share. It is the responsibility of every generation to pass on the inherited knowledge, culture and values to the next generation. Through initiatives like ZIIEI, we are succeeding in upgrading the education sector."

Prof. V. Ramgopal Rao Director, IIT Delhi, present at the occasion said, "Innovation is the need of the hour, and as we all need to provide a conducive environment to our students to enable them to become entrepreneurs in life."

Shri. Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Honourable Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises also emphasized on the need and importance of innovation in teaching. The honourable minister, said, "It is an enriching experience to meet more than thousand of innovative teachers. I thank Sri Aurobindo Society for the opportunity. It is important that every individual takes conscious efforts towards building a strong, morally rich society. Teachers are responsible for shaping the future of the children of our country and I congratulate you all for your efforts in transforming education."

Shri Mayank Aggarwal, Chief Operating Officer, Rupantar, Sri Aurobindo Society, said, "ZIIEI has been able to reach out to the teachers to the remotest corners to the urban areas, and teachers have been provided a first of its kind constructive platform to share their zero-investment innovative ideas."

Addressing the teachers at the grand event, Shri Anurag Thakur, Hon'ble Minister of State for Finance said, "India has a young population. We need to provide them good education and inculcate moral values in them. Collected efforts of the teachers and students are changing the face of the nation. The young India is true contributor in building a nation."

Shri Ram Madhav, National General Secretary, BJP said, "Education is an assimilation of character building ideas. Teaching implies right guidance at the right time, not just for the teacher & students but for the entire community." He also appreciated the teachers for their innovations solutions in teaching. Acknowledging the efforts of teachers present at the ceremony, Shri. Ram Madhav also said, "The teachers are making an outstanding contribution in the society by infusing and boosting moral values in the education system."

Calling teachers as the nation's pillars Shri. Hrushikesh Senapaty Director, NCERT, said, "It is a proud moment for the nation, as the teachers are working progressively for creating a innovation based ecosystem."

The event witnessed two engaging discussion sessions wherein speakers from education field shared their experiences and need of grassroot innovations.

Speaking on 'Importance of Micro-Innovation in Perspective of Zero-Investment Innovations' Shri. G.P Upadhyaya, ACS Education, Sikkim, Shri. A. Anbasru, Secretary Education, Puducherry, Shri Sanjay Awasthi, Member Secretary-NCTE, Shri Prashanth Nair, Managing Director of Kerala Shipping & Inland Navigation Corporation collectively called for more and more active participation of the teachers. They said that low/zero-cost replicable practices developed by the teachers and principals have the potential to contribute in improving the quality of education and create foster better learning outcomes in the students. The session was chaired by Mr. Nitin Bhalla, Head, Outreach & Partnerships, Rupantar, Sri Aurobindo Society.

In another set of discussion, based on the topic 'Open Source Innovation & Challenges for it's implementation', Dr. Rajesh Nathani - Advisor to Minister, MHRD, Ms Preeti Hingorani, Vice President, Brand & PR, Cambridge University Press, Shri Narayanan Ramaswami, Partnership Head, Education & Skill Development, KPMG collectively emphasised that shared knowledge and wisdom hold the key for unlocking many education related problems. Thus, platform such as ZIIEI, are providing great opportunity to the teachers to find solutions related to community participation, enrolment, drop-outs etc. This session was shared by Dr. Simmi Mahajan, Head- Quality Assurance, Sri Aurobindo Society, Delhi.

About ZIIEI

Zero-Investment Innovations for Education Initiatives (ZIIEI) has come a long way from its inception. The project is a mass-scale teacher outreach initiative started in 2015 by Sri Aurobindo Society and HDFC Bank. Till date around 2 Million teachers have been oriented towards ZIIEI across all the states and union territories of India.

ZIIEI aims to find 'the scattered, isolated and unrecognised, but effective solutions' created by teachers at the grassroot and systematically scale them up to lakhs of schools every year.

In the process, teachers are: Sensitised about the critical need for innovations in the Indian state-run schools; Educated about the potential of innovation that requires zero monetary investment; Encouraged to share such best practices freely with the teaching community; and Recognised grandly for their contribution towards improving the quality of education.

For more information, please visit: https://www.ziiei.com/

About Innovative Pathshaala Zero investment innovations to improve syllabus learning outcomes

Innovative Pathshaala is the innovation guidelines for the teachers based on the existing school curriculum, where they have been converted into evolving Experiential Learning Concept, completely based on ZIIEI ideas. It is an everyday classroom teaching tool created as an extension of the zero-investment innovative ideas presented by the teachers themselves. Till date more than 15 lakh teachers are using Innovative Pathshaala App on their mobile phones on day to day basis.

For more information, please visit: http://rupantar.in/

About Sri Aurobindo Society

Sri Aurobindo Society (SAS) is an international, spiritual, and cultural, not-for-profit global NGO. SAS has been recognised by the Government of India as a Charitable Organisation, a Research Institute and an Institute of Importance throughout India. Rupantar, a dynamic and multidimensional program of Sri Aurobindo Society is dedicated to transform education in schools by harnessing the power of the people and existing resources. 'Zero-Investment Innovations of Education Initiatives' (ZIIEI) is a mass teacher outreach program under Rupantar, that recognises, supports and promotes zero-investment innovations of the teachers.

For more information, please visit: https://aurosociety.org/

Photo: https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1120545/NationalConferenceandNationalAward_Ceremony.jpg PWR PWR

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MHRD Minister Promotes Grassroot Teaching Innovations by Felicitating More Than 1000 Teachers From all the State's UT's of India - THE WEEK

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March 9th, 2020 at 7:42 pm

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MHRD minister promotes grassroots teaching innovations – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: A national conference and award ceremony was organised recently at Dogra Hall- Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi by Sri Aurobindo Society and HDFC Bank to recognise the effective grassroots innovations in teaching.

Highlights of the event

* MHRD Minister launched 35 State-wise Innovations Handbooks consisting of best teaching practices and grassroots innovations

* Prakash Javadekar, the Minister of Information & Broadcasting graced the event and motivated the teachers

* Narendra Singh Tomar, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj minister appreciated the mass-scale teacher outreach program 'Zero-Investment Innovations for Education Initiatives' (ZIIEI) of Sri Aurobindo Society and HDFC Bank

* Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre, Minister of State for HRD boosted the morale of the teachers and felicitated education officers

* Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises graced the occasion

* Anurag Thakur, Minister of State for Finance motivated the teachers at the event

* Ram Madhav, National General Secretary, Bhartiya Janata Party applauded the teachers for their unique teaching innovations at the grass-root level.

Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' felicitated more than 1000 teachers from across the country for their unique zero-investment grassroots innovations in teaching.

The event, named 'SHUNYA SE SASHAKTIKARAN- Empowering Through Zero' highlighted and promoted various zero-investment innovative ideas that are developed and being implemented by the school teachers in their respective schools. 35 state-wise Innovations Handbooks were also launched at the event. These handbooks document the most effective innovations by teachers of different states. The event was organised by Sri Aurobindo Society and HDFC Bank to acknowledge the best practices and innovative ideas of the school teachers on March 1st and 2nd 2020, at Dogra Hall- Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi.

Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank', Minister MHRD, Dr Satbir Bedi - Chairperson, NCTE, Ashima Bhat - Group Head, HDFC Bank, Ashish Goel - Divisional Commissioner Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, Pradeep Narang - Chairman, Sri Aurobindo Society, Vijay Poddar - Member Executive, Sri Aurobindo Society along with Sambhrant Sharma- Director, Education, Sri Aurobindo Society felicitated 1,000 innovative teachers and launched 35 Innovation Handbooks.

Addressing the audience and media persons present at the event, Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' emphasised on the need to empower the teachers to upgrade the education sector of the country. He also appreciated and acknowledged the efforts of Sri Aurobindo Society for its dedicated approach in this sector.

"I hope from next year we celebrate this day as the Innovative Teacher's Day. I congratulate Sri Aurobindo Society and HDFC Bank for the commendable work of acknowledging teachers' contributions in the education sector", said the MHRD minister. He also described the teachers as Chanakya who are capable of creating a Chandragupta in every student.

Pokhriyal also acknowledged the efforts of HDFC Bank in nation-building and presented a memento to Ashima Bhat - Group Head, HDFC Bank. "It is the vision of HDFC bank to build an educated and progressive society. The bank has been actively involved in making a stronger and better India and Sri Aurobindo Society's ZIIEI program has been an incredible partner in this vision of transforming education in India", said Bhat.

Nusrat Pathan, CSR Head, HDFC Bank and Vikas Wahal, Head Retail Banking, HDFC Bank also marked their presence.

The event was graced by the presence of Prakash Javadekar, who focused on improving the access and quality of education and applauded the teachers for their praiseworthy efforts in building a stronger and progressive nation. "The society where a teacher is recognized and felicitated is a remarkable one. Innovation is the mother of research. Each innovation is a vision. A nation cannot progress without innovation. It is the sole responsibility of the teachers to create great leaders for tomorrow", said the minister.

Along with Narendra Singh Tomar, JM Bala Murugun - Principal Secretary to Governor, Punjab and Amrendra Kumar Sengar - Inspector General, NDRF also shared the dice and motivated the teachers.

"I hope the teachers continue to contribute towards improving the education system through their noble work. Nation-building comes first. Innovative teachers inculcate such moral and human values in their students who play an instrumental role in building a progressive nation", said Narendra Singh Tomar.

Rajender Pensiya - Chief Development Officer, Farrukhabad emphasised on creating a joyful learning atmosphere in the classroom and applauded ZIIEI Innovative Pathshaala, an initiative under ZIIEI that focuses on experiential learning atmosphere in the classroom.

"Teachers are not just imparting education but are also elevating their learning experience. Knowledge multiplies when we share. It is the responsibility of every generation to pass on the inherited knowledge, culture and values to the next generation. Through initiatives like ZIIEI, we are succeeding in upgrading the education sector", said Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre.

"Innovation is the need of the hour, and as we all need to provide a conducive environment to our students to enable them to become entrepreneurs in life", said Prof V Ramgopal Rao - Director, IIT Delhi.

Pratap Chandra Sarangi emphasized on the need and importance of innovation in teaching. "It is an enriching experience to meet more than thousand of innovative teachers. I thank Sri Aurobindo Society for the opportunity. It is important that every individual takes conscious efforts towards building a strong, morally rich society. Teachers are responsible for shaping the future of the children of our country and I congratulate you all for your efforts in transforming education", said Pratap Chandra Sarangi.

"ZIIEI has been able to reach out to the teachers to the remotest corners to the urban areas, and teachers have been provided a first of its kind constructive platform to share their zero-investment innovative ideas", said Mayank Aggarwal, Chief Operating Officer, Rupantar, Sri Aurobindo Society.

"India has a young population. We need to provide them good education and inculcate moral values in them. Collected efforts of the teachers and students are changing the face of the nation. Young India is a true contributor in building a nation", addressed Anurag Thakur.

"Education is an assimilation of character building ideas. Teaching implies right guidance at the right time, not just for the teacher & students but for the entire community", said Ram Madhav.

He also appreciated the teachers for their innovative solutions in teaching. "The teachers are making an outstanding contribution in the society by infusing and boosting moral values in the education system", added Ram Madhav.

"It is a proud moment for the nation, as the teachers are working progressively for creating an innovation-based ecosystem", said Hrushikesh Senapaty - Director, NCERT calling teachers as the nation's pillars.

The event witnessed two engaging discussion sessions wherein speakers from the education field shared their experiences and the need for grass-root innovations.

Speaking on 'Importance of Micro-Innovation in Perspective of Zero-Investment Innovations' GP Upadhyaya, ACS Education, Sikkim, A Anbasru, Secretary Education, Puducherry, Sanjay Awasthi, Member Secretary-NCTE, Prashanth Nair, Managing Director of Kerala Shipping & Inland Navigation Corporation collectively called for more and more active participation of the teachers.

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MHRD minister promotes grassroots teaching innovations - Times of India

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March 9th, 2020 at 7:42 pm

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A Power-Packed National Conference and National Award Ceremony for Innovative Teachers – Outlook India

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(Eds: Disclaimer: The following press release comes to you under an arrangement with Business Wire India. PTI takes no editorial responsibility for the same.) New Delhi, Delhi, India Business Wire India MHRD Minister promotes grassroot teaching innovations by felicitating more than 1000 teachers from all the States & UTs of India MHRD Minister launched 35 state-wise Innovations Handbooks A National Conference and award ceremony was organised recently at Dogra Hall- Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi by Sri Aurobindo Society and HDFC Bank to recognise the effective grassroot innovations in teaching. Highlights of the Event Shri. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Honourable Minister, MHRD felicitated more than 1000 Teachers gathered from all that states and union territories of country MHRD Minister launched 35 State-wise Innovations Handbooks consisting of best teaching practices and grassroot innovations Shri. Prakash Javadekar, the Honourable Minister of Information & Broadcasting graced the event and motivated the teachers Shri. Narendra Singh Tomar, Honourable Minister, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj appreciated the mass-scale teacher outreach program Zero-Investment Innovations For Education Initiatives (ZIIEI) of Sri Aurobindo Society and HDFC Bank Shri. Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre Honourable Minister of State for HRD boosted the morale of the teachers and education officers Shri. Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Honourable Minster of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises graced the occasion Shri. Anurag Thakur, Honble Minister of State for Finance motivated the teachers at the event Shri Ram Madhav, National General Secretary, Bhartiya Janata Party applauded the teachers for their unique teaching innovations at grassroot level. Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, honourable Human Resource Development (HRD) minister felicitated more than 1000 teachers from across the country for their unique zero-investment grassroot innovations in teaching. The event, named as SHUNYA SE SASHAKTIKARAN- Empowering Through Zero highlighted and promoted various zero-investment innovative ideas that are developed and being implemented by the school teachers in their respective schools. 35 state-wise Innovations Handbooks were also launched at the event. These handbooks document the most effective innovations by teachers of different states. The event was organised by Sri Aurobindo Society and HDFC Bank to acknowledge the best practices and innovative ideas of the school teachers on 01st and 02nd March 2020, at Dogra Hall- Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi. Honble Minister MHRD- Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Dr. Satbir Bedi Chairperson, NCTE, Ms. Ashima Bhat - Group Head, HDFC Bank, Shri. Ashish Goel - Divisional Commissioner Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, Shri. Pradeep Narang - Chairman, Sri Aurobindo Society, Shri. Vijay Poddar - Member Executive, Sri Aurobindo Society along with Shri Sambhrant Sharma- Director, Education, Sri Aurobindo Society felicitated 1,000 innovative teachers and launched 35 innovations handbook. Addressing the audience and media persons present at the event, Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank emphasised on the need to empower the teachers to upgrade the education sector of the country. He also appreciated and acknowledged the efforts of Sri Aurobindo Society for their dedicated approach in this sector. Speaking at the event, the Honourable MHRD minister said, I hope from next year we celebrate this day as Innovative Teachers Day. I congratulate Sri Aurobindo Society and HDFC Bank for the commendable work of acknowledging teachers contribution in the education sector. He also described the teachers as Chanakya who are capable of creating a Chandragupta in every student. Shri. Pokhriyal also acknowledged the efforts of HDFC Bank in Nation Building and presented a memento to Ms. Ashima Bhat Group Head, HDFC Bank. Speaking at the event, Ms. Bhat said, It is the vision of HDFC bank to build an educated and progressive society. The Bank has been actively involved in making a stronger and better India and Sri Aurobindo Societys ZIIEI program has been an incredible partner in this vision of transforming education in India. Ms. Nusrat Pathan, CSR Head, HDFC Bank and Shri Vikas Wahal, Head Retail Banking, HDFC Bank also marked their presence. The event was graced by the presence of Shri Prakash Javadekar, the Honourable Minister of Information & Broadcasting focused on improving the access and quality of education and applauded the teachers for their praiseworthy efforts in building a stronger and progressive nation. The honourable minister said, The society where a teacher is recognized and felicitated is a remarkable one. Innovation is the mother of research. Each innovation is a vision. A nation cannot progress without innovation. It is the sole responsibility of the teachers to create great leaders for tomorrow. The event was also graced by Shri. Narendra Singh Tomar, Honourable Minister, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Shri. Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre Honourable Minister of State for HRD, Shri. Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Honourable Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Shri Anurag Thakur, Honble Minister of State for Finance and Shri. Ram Madhav, National General Secretary, Bhartiya Janata Party. Along with Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, Shri J. M Bala Murugun - Principal Secretary to Governor, Punjab and Shri Amrendra Kumar Sengar - Inspector General, NDRF also shared the dice and motivated the teachers. Overwhelmed with the honest approach of the teachers in the education sector, Shri. Narendra Singh Tomar, Honourable Minister, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj said, I hope the teachers continue to contribute towards improving the education system through their noble work. Nation building comes first. Innovative teachers inculcate such moral and human values in their students who play an instrumental role in building a progressive nation. Shri. Rajender Pensiya - Chief Development Officer, Farrukhabad emphasised on creating a joyful learning atmosphere in the classroom and applauded ZIIEI Innovative Pathshaala, an initiative under ZIIEI that focuses on experiential learning atmosphere in the classroom. Speaking at the event, Shri. Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre, Honourable Minister of State for HRD said, Teachers are not just imparting education but are also elevating their learning experience. Knowledge multiplies when we share. It is the responsibility of every generation to pass on the inherited knowledge, culture and values to the next generation. Through initiatives like ZIIEI, we are succeeding in upgrading the education sector. Prof. V. Ramgopal Rao Director, IIT Delhi, present at the occasion, said that innovations is the need of the hour, and as we all need to provide a conducive environment to our students to enable them to become entrepreneurs in life. Shri. Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Honourable Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises also emphasized on the need and importance of innovation in teaching. The honourable minister said, It is an enriching experience to meet more than thousand of innovative teachers. I thank Sri Aurobindo Society for the opportunity. It is important that every individual takes conscious efforts towards building a strong, morally rich society. Teachers are responsible for shaping the future of the children of our country and I congratulate you all for your efforts in transforming education. Shri Mayank Aggarwal, Chief Operating Officer, Rupantar, Sri Aurobindo Society, said that ZIIEI has been able to reach out to the teachers to the remotest corners to the urban areas, and teachers have been provided a first of its kind constructive platform to share their zero-investment innovative ideas. Addressing the teachers at the grand event, Shri Anurag Thakur, Honble Minister of State for Finance said, India has a young population. We need to provide them good education and inculcate moral values in them. Collected efforts of the teachers and students are changing the face of the nation. The young India is true contributor in building a nation. Shri Ram Madhav, National General Secretary, BJP said, Education is an assimilation of character building ideas. Teaching implies right guidance at the right time, not just for the teacher & students but for the entire community. He also appreciated the teachers for their innovations solutions in teaching. Acknowledging the efforts of teachers present at the ceremony, Shri. Ram Madhav also said, The teachers are making an outstanding contribution in the society by infusing and boosting moral values in the education system. Calling teachers as nations pillars Shri. Hrushikesh Senapaty Director, NCERT said that is it a proud moment for the nation, as the teachers are working progressively for creating a innovation based ecosystem. The event witnessed two engaging discussion sessions wherein speakers from education field shared their experiences and need of grassroot innovations. Speaking on Importance of Micro-Innovation in Perspective of Zero-Investment Innovations Shri. G.P Upadhyaya, ACS Education, Sikkim, Shri. A. Anbasru, Secretary Education, Puducherry, Shri Sanjay Awasthi, Member Secretary-NCTE, Shri Prashanth Nair, Managing Director of Kerala Shipping & Inland Navigation Corporation collectively called for more and more active participation of the teachers. They said that low/zero-cost replicable practices developed by the teachers and principals have the potential to contribute in improving the quality of education and create foster better learning outcomes in the students. The session was chaired by Mr. Nitin Bhalla, Head, Outreach & Partnerships, Rupantar, Sri Aurobindo Society. In another set of discussion, based on the topic Open Source Innovation & Challenges for its implementation, Dr. Rajesh Nathani - Advisor to Minister, MHRD, Ms Preeti Hingorani, Vice President, Brand & PR, Cambridge University Press, Shri Narayanan Ramaswami, Partnership Head, Education & Skill Development, KPMG collectively emphasised that shared knowledge and wisdom hold the key for unlocking many education related problems. Thus, platform such as ZIIEI, are providing great opportunity to the teachers to find solutions related to community participation, enrolment, drop-outs etc. This session was shared by Dr. Simmi Mahajan, Head- Quality Assurance, Sri Aurobindo Society, Delhi. ZIIEI Zero-Investment Innovations for Education Initiatives (ZIIEI) has come a long way from its inception. The project is a mass-scale teacher outreach initiative started in 2015 by Sri Aurobindo Society and HDFC Bank. Till date around 2 Million teachers have been oriented towards ZIIEI across all the states and union territories of India. ZIIEI aims to find the scattered, isolated and unrecognised, but effective solutions created by teachers at the grassroot and systematically scale them up to lakhs of schools every year. In the process, teachers are: Sensitised about the critical need for innovations in the Indian state-run schools; Educated about the potential of innovation that requires zero monetary investment; Encouraged to share such best practices freely with the teaching community; and Recognised grandly for their contribution towards improving the quality of education. About Innovative Pathshaala Zero investment innovations to improve syllabus learning outcomes Innovative Pathshaala is the innovation guidelines for the teachers based on the existing school curriculum, where they have been converted into evolving Experiential Learning Concept, completely based on ZIIEI ideas. It is an everyday classroom teaching tool created as an extension of the zero-investment innovative ideas presented by the teachers themselves. Till date more than 15 lakh teachers are using Innovative Pathshaala App on their mobile phones on day to day basis. To View the Image Click on the Link Below: (L-R) Mr. Vijay Poddar - Member Executive, Sri Aurobindo Society; Ms. Ashima Bhat - Group Head, HDFC Bank; Mr. Ramesh Pokhriyal ''Nishank'' Honourable Minister, MHRD; Mr. Pradeep Narang - Chairman, Sri Aurobindo Society; Dr. Satbir Bedi Chairperson, NCTE felicitated 1,000 innovative teachers and launched 35 Innovations Handbook PWR PWR Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI More from Outlook Magazine

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Best pizzas in Delhi: 10 restaurants that serve the most authentic pizzas in the capital – GQ India

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Ask a Delhizen where youre likely to get the best pizzas in Delhi, and youll have a divided house pretty fast. While several normcore people will throw out the one name that everyone tends to (it's on our list) and the self-professed hipsters unearth the two other names that vie for top billing (one of which is also on our list), weve curated 10 places that will bring you a pie to write home about.

You may not see a couple of presumed favourites on this curation, but thats only because popular consensus agreed that theyve depreciated in that special something that made them brilliant over the years or were never worth the hype in the first place. The ones that did make the cut, however, know exactly how to make a pizza pie that deserves both a repeat visit, and repeated Instagram topshots.

Ask a Delhiite where youll get the best pizza in the city, and the answer youll get on loop is most people dont know of it, but Leos. The textured paned windows, wooden benches and warehouse vibe of this Vasant Vihar spot are only part of the draw of this favoured pizzeria. Its their woodfired pizzas, with a crust to die for, buffalo mozzarella and a non-overbearing tomato base, that makes regulars of people. Getting the pepperoni is a non-negotiable.

Address: 28, Basant Lok Market, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi

Phone Number: +91 9821277236

Cost For Two: 1,700 for two people (approx.)

One of the OG pizza spots in the city to do woodfired thin crusts, Amici may have seen a lot of (strong) competition turn up, but it hasn't lost its mojo. Their classic Capricciosa (Italian ham, black olives, artichoke, mushrooms) is still a crowd favourite, as is the Spinach and Goat Cheese, with its divine red wine onions. If youre the dude on a diet whos just trying a slice, they do a mean Smoked Salmon and Avo salad too.

Address: 8, Defence Colony Main Market, Defence Colony, New Delhi

Phone Number: 8, Defence Colony Main Market, Defence Colony, New Delhi

Cost For Two: 1,200 for two people (approx.)

You might think this Qutub veteran is on the list because were besotted by its beautiful outdoor space and Grecian blue and white aesthetic, but ask any real Olive fan, and the the thing theyre likely to have ordered the most is their delicate, elfin pizzas. The German Tarte Flambe Pizza, with its crumbled sausages, bacon rashers and sour cream, is easily top of the charts. Pair with a gin cocktail for best results.

Address: 6-8, Kalka Das Marg, Mehrauli, New Delhi

Phone Number:+91 9810235472; 011 29574444

Cost For Two: 4,000 for two people (approx.)

Possibly still quite undiscovered except for that series of pizza fanatics that go beyond the places that have become pop culture icons, EVOO (which stands for Extra Virgin Olive Oil). We love this sweet, happily sunlit place with its chalkboard specials and its Evoo-drizzled pies. While the pasta might leave a little to be desired, the Pistachio & Pesto pizza (rosemary, green olives and ricotta, best with an add on of bacon chips) and Pork Calabrioan pizza (smoked pork calabrian sausage, pancetta) more than make up for it.

Address: B-2, Ground Floor, Shivalik, Near Sri Aurobindo College, Geetanjali Pancheel Road, Geetanjali Enclave, New Delhi

Phone Number: +91 8368428737

011 41662030

Cost For Two: 1,500 for two people (approx.)

To curate this list without including the original big daddy of traditional Italian would just be shoddy research. Head to this nuanced restaurant if the rendition youre after is more haute cuisine than happy comfort. The Pizza Emiliana (parma ham, rucola, parmesan) ends up in a photo finish for the best on the list with the Quatro Formaggi (mozzarella, parmesan, smoked scamorza, blue cheese).

Address: Hyatt Regency, Bhikaji Cama Place, New Delhi

Phone Number: 011 26791234

Cost For Two: 4,500 for two people (approx.)

Sure, they might be delivery only but Napoli manages to zip over a quality pizza to South Delhi diners swiftly enough to make it a go-to for Netflix and actual chill day. Their base is comforting, they never skimp on toppingsorder a Meat Lovers pizza and theyll throw on enough bacon and pepperoni to feed a small countryand they almost always turn up hot. Their calzones are both ricotta-full and wonderful, but be prepared to make an absolute mess when you eat them.

Address: Delivers In and around Safdarjung

Phone Number: 011 40517365

Cost For Two: 800 for two people (approx.)

It would be remiss to not mention this iconic eatery on our list of best pizzaand, in this city, asking to be crucified. The charming, movie-themed restaurant does their Italian a touch more cheesily than the more authentic restaurants, but we love them for it. Their garlic salami and black olive pizza is fantastic, but were fans of the four-fourths pizza that divides four meats into two slices eachbasically giving you four types of pizza slices in the same pie. A Belgian chocolate shake with it completes the indulgence.

Address: 68-A, Khan Market, New Delhi

Phone Number: 011 41757588

Cost For Two: 1,500 for two people (approx.)

Youd imagine a jack of all trades like The Oberois all-day diner wouldnt make it to a best-of-the-best- list, but they surprise us every time. The thin, light and beautifully done pizzas at 360 definitely make the cut for the best in the cityin particular the Tricolore (spinach, feta, sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts) and Burrata and Arugula.

Address: The Oberoi, Dr. Zakir Hussain Marg, New Delhi

Phone Number: 011 24363030

Cost For Two: 5,000 for two people (approx.)

From its fat cursive font at the door to its warm wooden interiors and triangular trusses, everything about Fat Lulus is comforting and easy. The perfect space to kick back with a thick shake (Nutella and Salted Caramel, anyone) and a pie, this will always be in our top spots for its brilliant Polop pizza (Katsu chicken in teriyaki with sesame seeds) and Butter Chicken Masala za. A side of their Pomme Frites doesnt hurt if youre okay to carbo-load.

Address: C 7, Commercial Complex, SDA Market, SDA, New Delhi

Phone Number: +91 9599288395

Cost For Two: 800 for two people (approx.)

Sure, this place is already on our list of most romantic places in the city, but it isnt too focussed on creating a quality date night vibe to forget how to make a quality pizza pie. While we definitely love the intimate atmosphere, the wood-fired pizza is definitely one of their big sells. Try the A La Spagnola (Spanish chorizo, gorgonzola) if youre a meat-eater, or the Basilica (basil pesto, artichoke hearts, French goat cheese) if youd rather keep it green.

Address: 10/48, Malcha Marg Shopping Complex, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi

Phone Number: +91 9810877553

Cost For Two: 2,400 for two people (approx.)

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Six from city ace CAT exam, aim for IIMs – Times of India

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Ludhiana: The nation-wide results for the Common Admission Test (CAT), for admissions to the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) were declared on Saturday. Six students from the city scored over 98 percentile marks and made their parents proud. Akshit Garg (21) managed to secure 99.58 percentile marks and is one among the top scorers from the city. Other toppers who scored 99-plus percentile marks are Ishan Singal (99.13), Shivam Singla (99.10), Vaibhav Singla (98.55), Kashish Garg (98.10) and Angad Loomba (98.48). Speaking after the results, Akshit said he had been preparing for the CAT for the last two years. I worked very hard to ace the test. I took coaching to crack the exam which helped me a lot, he said. He added that he cracked all the mock papers, and listed out all his weak points, which helped him excel. Akshit said that his success can be attributed to his teachers and parents who always supported him to take the right path. His father is a trader while is mother is a homemaker. Akshit aims to study at IIM Lucknow in order to hone his business skills to be able to start his own venture at later stages. Ishan, a resident of Pakhowal Road, managed to crack the CAT by scoring 99.13 percentile marks. A commerce graduate from Delhi University, Ishan plans to take admission in IIM Lucknow. He wants to pursue MBA in marketing. Shivam Singla who scored 99.10 percentile marks aims to become a finance consultant. I think to crack the CAT exam there is no need to study for 6 hours in a day, as one who study with dedication for three to four hours and can score good marks, he said. Sucess mantras of toppers Akshit Garg, 99.58 percentile A BCom student from Sri Aurobindo College of Commerce and Management Mantra: It was my second attempt. In the first attempt, I scored 95.13 percentile marks. My main focus was to crack mocks and ensure my graph goes up. Practice will always make you better Parents Rajesh Garg, trader and Sonia Garg, housewife Ishan Singal, 99.13 percentile A BCom graduate from Kirori Mal College, University Of Delhi Parents Ashok Singal, businessman and Sunita Singal, entreprenuer Mantra- Consistency is the formula to crack CAT and 6 hours of daily practice is needed Shivam Singla, 99.10 percentile A BCom graduate from Sri Aurobindo College of Commerce and Management Parents Sanjeev Singla, businessman and Sonia Singla, homemaker Mantra- Be confident while writing the exam. Focus on mock tests, as itll go a long way

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January 11th, 2020 at 5:44 am

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International Yoga Festivalkicks off in Puducherry – The Hindu

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Puducherry is an ideal location for hosting international yoga events by virtue of its peaceful and pious ambience, Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy has said.

Inaugurating the 26th International Yoga Festival hosted by the Department of Tourism at the Gandhi Thidal, the Chief Minister said the city had attracted spiritual minds such as Sri Aurobindo and The Mother who had propagated the integral yoga concept globally. Even in the universal township of Auroville, yoga is an integral part of life for its community, which includes about 50 nationalities.

Crediting the Government of India, especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for efforts at the United Nations for a global celebration of yoga, Mr. Narayanasamy said the Puducherry government was promoting wellness centres across hospitals.

The government was committed to develop tourism, yoga, art and culture and handicrafts. We would like to focus on promoting traditional Tamil culture so that they can not only entertain visitors but also inspire the younger generation, he said.

On a lighter note, Mr. Narayanasamy said yoga was particularly ideal for politicians and those in public life as it would equip them with patience. He himself was a regular practitioner of yoga in the morning and he had found that it had helped him discharge duties for about 17 hours every day, Mr. Narayanasamy said.

V. Vaithilingam, MP, T. Djeamourthy, MLA, Purva Garg, Tourism Secretary, L. Mohamed Mansoor, Tourism Director were among those who spoke.

Over 1,000 yoga practitioners and enthusiasts, including foreigners, are participating in the event.

The valedictory of the yoga festival will take place at the Art and Craft Village, Murungapakkam on Tuesday.

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A Hindu critique of Hindutva – The Hindu

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The question I ask myself as we witness the assertion of the ideology of Hindutva and its resultant fear among minorities is this: Is it possible to have yet another reading of my religion or the experience of religiosity and take part in a collective movement for creating a society filled with love, empathy and pluralism? This is both a sociopolitical and an ethico-existential question. At a time when the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019 has caused fear and existential insecurity among the minorities, there is a danger of the movement against the discriminatory nature of the CAA degenerating into violent communal politics. Therefore, it is important to introspect and redefine ones politics, culture and religiosity for a collective struggle.

Yes, there is a Left-Ambedkarite version of secularism, and many of us university-educated/metropolitan intellectuals and civil society activists are reasonably free from the burden of the conditioned mind that religious orthodoxy causes. Yet, a careful look at Indias culture and society would indicate that religion is all-pervasive: it can be seen in beliefs, rituals as well as in the dangerous stereotypes we nurture about others. Hence, the mere act of debunking religion will not help. We need to rescue religion from zealots and rediscover the spirit of religiosity as, to use Rabindranath Tagores language, our surplus. It is in this context that as someone born in a Hindu family, I would like to critique Hindutva or, for that matter, any deterministic/one dimensional doctrine of religion. This critique emanates not from scientism or soulless secularism, but from deep religiosity, the urge to transcend limiting identities.

The kind of Hindutva we see today is against some of the finest aspects of my religiosity that I learned as a Hindu. While the discourse of Hindutva with its hypermasculine nationalism is essentially monolithic and centralising, I have learned about the beauty of the elasticity of human consciousness and merger of multiple faiths and paths from the likes of Ramakrishna Paramahansa. While the doctrine of militant Hindutva is recklessly engaged in an act of othering and stigmatising Muslims, I have learned about love, empathy and listening from M.K. Gandhis remarkably nuanced engagement with Hinduism. Likewise, while Hindutva intensifies aggression, Miras bhajans teach me that love and religiosity are not separate. The character of Anandamayee that Tagore created in his classic novel Gora makes me see the enchanting power of maternity, the current that absorbs everything. And hence, I begin to see the hollowness in the assertion of brute masculinity seen in instances of mob lynching by zealots, which ruthlessly denies the possibility of an evolutionary journey towards what Sri Aurobindo regarded as the divine consciousness.

Yajnavalkyas conversation with Maitreyi in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad helps me conceive the depths of spirituality, the quest for the Eternal, and also helps me see the ugliness in a doctrine that reduces religion into mere identity politics, or a weapon for intensifying the narcissistic ego of the Hindu nation. Engagement with the Bhagavad Gita acquires a different meaning. I see the ethos of niskam karma (or the spirit of work as an offering without selfish interests) in Gandhis politico-spiritual pilgrimage to Noakhali in 1946, not in the calculative Machiavellian urge to build a temple at Ayodhya at the demolished site of the Babri Masjid. Moreover, there is a culture of conversation and argumentation in the broad tradition of Hinduism. While Nachiketa dared to converse with Yama, the proponents of Lokayata did argue with the followers of Vedanta. In a way, it is possible to be a Hindu with the spirit of pluralism and dialogue in our consciousness. Paradoxically, it is possible to be a Hindu, yet be a non-Hindu. This is why the ideology of Hindutva is not in conformity with religiosity as peoples inner quest for moving towards a world of love and togetherness.

We are passing through difficult times. First, as the CAA and the National Register of Citizens together indicate, the minority community has further been stigmatised. And in a society with a long history of the tension-ridden relationship between the two communities, the ghettoisation of space and mind has further erected a huge wall of separation. Hence, the danger is that the anger against the CAA might take a communal turn, and it is not impossible for the nationalist media to project it as a conflict between patriotic Hindus and problematic Muslims. From Seelampur in Delhi to Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh, these Muslim sites might be immediately projected as war zones. And in a vicious cycle of humiliation and provocation, the minorities could feel more and more lonely.

Majoritarian Hindutva is not merely against Muslims; it is no less hostile to those Hindus who think and live differently while some would be castigated as leftists, pseudo secularists and urban Naxals, the rest would be regarded as effeminate idealists or Gandhian fools. Therefore, in such a situation, it is important to try to evolve a culture of communion between the two communities, and fight together for a better world. However, the discourse of communalism or a politics based on exclusivist religious identity (and even though majority communalism is immensely destructive, minority communalism is no answer to it) is essentially against this spirit of communion. Likewise, a soulless secularism which fails to deal with the religious/spiritual quest doesnt succeed much in touching peoples hearts for inspiring them to create a new moral politics for collective redemption.

In troubled and directionless times, Gandhi could tap the therapeutic power of religiosity and move towards this communion. He could be a Hindu; yet, dialogic, experimental and elastic. In a way, as Nathuram Godse might have thought, he was also a non-Hindu. Likewise, I would imagine that a Muslim with true religiosity is equally eager to resist the attempt by the orthodox clergy or the fundamentalist elements to hijack the religious sphere. He/she ought to be inherently against the Talibanisation of consciousness. Because true religiosity is the art of using the form in order to be formless. Imagine a world where Kabir and Rumi, Gandhi and Maulana Azad, and Tagore and Nizamuddin Auliya work with us, become our educators, and inspire us to heal the world through the power of love and understanding. Even though in the age of dystopia it may appear to be impossible, it is a challenging task we ought to strive for. This is precisely the most important sadhana, or the meaning of being a Hindu a seeker who seeks to break the iron cage of Hindutva or, for that matter, any other fundamentalist doctrine.

Avijit Pathak is Professor of Sociology at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

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Sri Aurobindo Ghose (1872- 1950) went to England for education when he was seven. His political life began there in his teens. Although he qualified in the ICS examination, he was not selected as he chose to abstain from the horseriding test. He secured a First in Classics and a Tripos at Cambridge in 1892. Returning to India in 1893, he joined the Baroda College as professor of English, and later became its principal. In 1902, he came in touch with Thakur Saheb who was then the leader of a secret Maharastra revolutionary group, and was thus initiated into the revolutionary movement. Participating in the protest against the partition of Bengal in 1905, Sri Aurobindo left Baroda College.

The next year, in 1906, he settled in Bengal and joined the newly started National College as its principal. In 1907, he gave a revolutionary turn to the apolitical organization Anushilan Samiti which was founded in 1902 by its president, Pramathanath Mitra, of which he was a Vice-President. He reorganized it and made Sister Nivedita its member. Under his direction young men, including his brother Barindra Ghose, were making bombs and guns. Sri Aurobindo was a follower of Tilak when the latter left the Congress in Surat and took to extremism. Tilak was no longer prominent in Indian politics after 1908 when he was sentenced to transportation for six years and sent to Mandalaya jail on a charge of sedition.

Meanwhile, Sri Aurobindo was appointed Assistant Editor by another extremist, Bipin Chandra Pal, in his English paper, Bande Mataram,. He soon took charge of the paper as Pal was eased out of it in 1907. Swami Vivekanandas brother, Bhupendranath and Barindra, who were also connected with the work of Bande Mataram, found Pal half-hearted. Pals faith in revolutionary idealism did not last long. In 1913, he pleaded for the continuation of the British connection in view of the immense possibilities of federal internationalism. Sri Aurobindo was accused of seditious writings in Bande Mataram and was accused of involvement in the Alipore bomb case in 1908. While in jail, Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das fought for him in court and proved that he was not guilty.

He was in Alipore jail for a year as an undertrial and was acquitted for want of evidence but Barindra was sentenced to transportation for life. After his release he brought out the English weekly Karmayogin and the Bengali weekly Dharma. Now his connection with revolutionary activity was open and clear. A warrant of arrest was therefore issued against him in February 1910 for writing an article titled To My Countrymen. Realising his impending incarceration, he secretly left for his home town, the French Chandannagar, from where he moved to Pondicherry and spent the rest of his life there in a spiritual quest. Deshbandhu described Sri Aurobindo as the prophet of nationalism.

But where did he get so much power and inspiration from? Prof. Subodh Chandra Sengupta has the correct answer: It was Swami Vivekananda who introduced the cult of Shaktiworship, which was taken up by a succession of brilliant men, the first two being Aurobindo Ghose and Barindra Ghose, who might be called the joint authors of Bhawani Mandir. It was a political tract the idea of which was Barindras and the writing of Sri Aurobindos. It was displayed in the Alipore Conspiracy case. Initially, Sri Aurobindo wasnt perhaps acquainted with Swamijis writings but felt their impact, which was the fountain of Swamijis pervasive influence.

Going through his works subsequently and by dint of his interactions with Sister Nivedita and others, he became knowledgeable about Swamiji. His knowledge about Sri Ramakrishna was also remarkable. Though he didnt meet them, their lives and spiritual ideas took deep roots in his mind. He however met Sarada Devi in 1910 on a Sunday and paid his respect to her at the Udbodhan House in Baghbazar. His wife Mrinalini Devi was an initiated disciple of Sarada Devi. Both were worshipers of Kali. Mrinalini Devi was a well-known spiritual personality by her own right and had a following. She stayed all her life at Chandannagar. Sri Aurobindo claimed that he received three messages on a mystical plane from Sri Ramakrishna between 1908 and 1912.

By his own admission, Sri Ramakrishnas influence on the development of his spiritual life was profound. He said to a disciple: Remember also that we derive from Ramakrishna. For myself it was Ramakrishna who personally came and first turned me to this Yoga. He also claimed that Swamiji mystically communicated to him various instructions in meditation during his imprisonment for a year. He said: Vivekananda in Alipore jail gave me the foundations of that knowledge which is the basis of our Sadhana. Considering these two statements alone, if one presumes that he held Ramakrishna- Vivekananda as his Guru one would not be wrong. Those two spiritual phenomena in his life are ample reason to believe that Ramakrishna and Vivekananda were pathfinders in his mystical journey.

That his mind was suffused with their thoughts is evident from many of his religious and philosophical writings which exude their ideas eloquently. In an editorial piece of Dharma (26 Poush 1316) with the heading Sri Ramakrishna O Bhabishyat Bharat, he said with an absolute faith to show that Sri Ramakrishna was the highest manifestation of the power of God. He wrote: The man appeared as Sri Ramakrishna is the Antaryami Bhagawan. He had also written unequivocally, Satya-yuga arrived on earth by the touch of Sri Ramakrishnas feet; the world is dipped in joy in his touch; with his Advent, the gloom accumulated over centuries disappeared. He established Yuga-dharma, and was the sum total of all the earlier Avataras. Sri Aurobindo was convinced that Sri Ramakrishna gave to India the final message of Hinduism to the world.

Similarly, his estimation about Swamiji was tremendous. He described him as a very lion among men. He said: The going forth of Vivekananda, marked out by the Master (Sri Ramakrishna) as the heroic soul destined to take the world between his two hands and change it, was the first visible sign to the world that India was awake not only to survive but to conquer. Sri Aurobindo was a prolific writer on the Vedas, the Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita. His interpretations of these important scriptures were in the non-sectarian spirit of Sri Ramakrishna and Vivekananda. In a treatise on Isha Upanishad he reflected on Sri Ramakrishnas precept of non-difference (abhedatwa) between Brahman and Shakti. Sri Ramakrishna is specially conspicuous in his book The Life Divine. He used in it in the parables and analogies used by Sri Ramakrishna. Developing Sri Ramakrishnas teaching that everything is possible for God, Sri Aurobindo claims that the infinite is illimitably free, free to determine itself infinitely, free from all of its restraining effect of its own creations.

Again, as Sri Ramakrishna said God is both with and without form, so also Sri Aurobindo said that the Divine Being is at once Form and the Formless. There are numerous such instances in his works which he believed deserve allusions for the benefit of the seekers of Truth and God. According to Sri Aurobindo, all religions express one Truth in various ways and move by various paths to one goal. In the final analysis Vedanta propounds that the Infinite Reality is at once personal and impersonal, static and dynamic, with and without form, immanent and transcendent.

He affirmed the harmony of all religions precisely on the basis of this non-sectarian Vedantic worldview, faithfully following Ramakrishna and Vivekananda. The actual revolutionary activity of Sri Aurobindo spanned hardly four years. But his spiritual pursuit spanned four decades. Within this period he raised himself by intense sadhana to be an extraordinary yogi of distinctive character and epitome. Cutting across classes, communities and countries, he is now globally acceptable as a spiritual pathfinder for peace and harmony.

(The writer is with Ramakrishna Mission, Narendrapur)

See more here:
Revolutionary to Yogi - The Statesman

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November 25th, 2019 at 1:42 am

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